I’ve been behind many a car in traffic and thought, “You just aren’t as good at texting and driving as you think you are.” We probably all have; yet, it’s still rampant and you might even find yourself doing it. It’s a bad habit, but you don’t have to do it anymore, because now anyone can download Android Auto and use it from their phone.
Android Auto can be used independently, or in some cases, with your car’s infotainment center, and it can help you out with smarter and safer communication, entertainment, and more. The standalone app is rather new and prior to its release not too many manufacturers had jumped on board, so you might not know too much about Android Auto. But that’s why we’re here.
Must Read: Android Features to Improve Your Commute
What Does Android Auto Do?
Android Auto works as a freestanding app on your phone or can be plugged into a compatible receiver (your car’s infotainment center or an aftermarket head unit) to provide a safer, smarter, and more entertaining experience in your car. Many of the apps you already use, like Google Play Music, Google Assistant, Audiobooks from Audible, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Pandora, iHeart Radio, NPR One, MLB at Bat, and more work either with your car or your phone’s display.
Android Auto has a simple user interface and many voice controls for safety. All you have to do is download the app and plug in your phone. Let Android Auto do all of the work by playing the music you want to hear, making phone calls, reading your texts, offering play-by-plays of sports, reading you stories, keeping you up-to-date on news, and providing navigation wherever you want to go. If it’s safe and feasible, Android Auto does it.
What is the Android Auto App?
What makes Android Auto worth reading about, much less downloading and learning how to use? Well, it’s free, for one. You can think of it as your phone integrated into your car. It was designed with your safety, and that of your passengers and other drivers, in mind, so if you are looking to use the app to play YouTube videos while you are driving, it’s going to be a disappointment. On the bright side, Android Auto will play music from YouTube, just not videos.
What Apps are Supported for Use on Android Auto?
You can’t use just any app; only those that are Google-approved for safety measures will be totally functional on Android Auto, but there are actually plenty of apps to take advantage of. In addition to those listed above, there’s also Waze, Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, ABC News, MediaMonkey, Stitcher, Snapchat, TuneIn, and WeChat. Waze is known for what Google Maps often lacks: real-time notifications. After all, what good is a map if every street is blocked off for a fall or winter festival? Waze conveys user feedback to help account for unusual situations.
Is Android Auto Available in My Country?
Android Auto has has already rolled out in 30 countries, including India, Argentina, Bolivia, and Columbia. Despite this, Android Auto is still unavailable in many countries, including Malaysia, South Africa, and Singapore.
If you want Android Auto, but you live in a country without any support, your options are few. You can either side load the app (download it through a third-party source, not Google Play) or spoof your location. This usually entails rooting your device or downloading a VPN app that will provide a fake location.
How Does Android Auto Work?
When connected to a compatible stereo or dash system, Android has access to your stereo-related controls, but not your car’s temperature controls or diagnostic system. It’s also not an operating system for the car itself, you plug in your phone to do all of the heavy lifting. Once you plug in, a Bluetooth connection should be established to handle phone calls. In most cases, when Android Auto has stopped working in a compatible car, a USB cable replacement fixes the issue.
Does Android Auto use data? Sure, if it’s available. But you can download maps for a given area using Wi-Fi ahead of time, then turn off mobile data in order to use the stored data. Make Android Auto work for you.
What Are Common Problems with Android Auto, and How Can They be Solved?
Earlier we mentioned that replacing the USB cable often solves many Android Auto problems; but if you tap on the phone button in Android Auto’s menu and it tells you to connect your phone to make calls, Bluetooth is disconnected. You will need to re-pair your head unit and device. Some users have experienced compatibility problems between Android Oreo betas and Auto, but have found relief by clearing Auto’s data in Settings/Apps and switching USB cables. Problems caused by app permissions being disabled can wreak havoc on notifications, phone calls, and voice controls. Check to see that everything has been enabled through Settings/Permissions.
Which Vehicles Support Android Auto?
Some car manufacturers have balked at used Android Auto (Naturally, they prefer that you use their own.), but that’s not to say the number of manufacturers that have implemented Android Auto is insignificant. About 400 brands of cars use Android Auto. If you are in the market for a new 2017 car, odds are that Android Auto is a feature it will have, or at least it will be an available option at an additional price. Examples of compatible cars include: Cadillac, Mercedes Benz, Chevrolets, Hondas, Kias, Volvos, and Volkswagens.
But don’t be dumb about your smartphone use. Drive safely. Fortunately, Android Auto will help you do just that.
Do you have any other questions about Android Auto? Share your thoughts in the comments!